Can I Get a Programming Job with an Associate’s Degree?

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Wondering if you can get a programming job with an associate’s degree?

Programming Job With an Associate's Degree

Programming is a field with a variety of career choices and trajectories, from computer programmer and systems analyst to web developer or user support specialist. In this field, you may benefit from higher than average annual salaries and a positive job outlook.

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An associate degree in applied science with a focus on computer programming may provide you with the right qualifications, skills, and knowledge to break into this challenging, in-demand, and rewarding field.

Can I Get a Programming Job with an Associate’s Degree?

Computer programmers working in an office

Yes, an associate’s degree can qualify you for an entry-level programming job at a number of companies.

Employers may be looking for skills and knowledge related to various coding languages, such as HTML, JavaScript, MySQL, CSS, PHP, and C#. Having a strong foundation of understanding and experience with these programming languages may benefit you in obtaining a rewarding entry-level position.

As a computer programmer, you may also need to exercise keen analytical and problem-solving skills. It can also help to be detail-oriented and to be able to perform complex tasks with accuracy.

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In some cases, employers may prefer you to hold a bachelors degree. If you’re interested in obtaining a bachelors, you may decide to earn it down the road after completing your associates degree and gaining work experience in the field.

It is important that your associate degree is obtained from an accredited institution so that your credits are able to transfer to other programs and schools following graduation.

Online Associates in Computer Programming Degrees

There are a number of computer programming-related associate degree options for you to choose from. While they offer some overlapping content, each will have distinct benefits, and some may be better suited for your career goals than others.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Regardless of the specialty you select, you will still receive a strong foundation in computer programming and related courses.

Associates in Computer Science Online

Computer Programmer working

Computer science revolves around the use of algorithms and mathematics to work with or within computer systems and applications to get hardware or software to interact and work together. It may also include the creation of computer systems, applications, or software.

For an associates in computer science online program, you may take a collection of courses to support the development of soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These foundational courses are paired with technical education to develop tangible computer science know-how.

You will likely be required to complete a variety of general core curriculum courses in addition to programming-specific courses as part of your studies. Programming-specific coursework may include programming fundamentals, algebra, C programming, and introduction to computing.

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Other computer science courses may include introduction to logic, computer organization, calculus, and discrete mathematics. With your completed associate’s degree in computer science, you may qualify for a job as a web developer, computer support specialist, or computer programmer.

These positions exist across all sectors of the economy, including government organizations, nonprofits, and private businesses.

Associates in Information Technology Online

Computer Network Support Specialists working in an office

Rather than developing or creating computer systems or applications themselves, IT professionals use those technologies within a business. They may create processes for different systems to work together to solve business inefficiencies.

Associate degrees in information technology may prepare you for entry-level positions such as web developer, network and computer systems administrator, computer or end-user support specialist, and computer programmer.

With further education, you may qualify for a position as a computer systems analyst or information security analyst. This degree program focuses on the practical application of information technology, supporting businesses in using available tools more effectively.

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Responsibilities may include resolving basic user support issues, implementing new technologies or systems to improve business performance, or troubleshooting unexpected network issues. Course curriculum may include a number of core curriculum courses, such as American history, introduction to psychology, and communication.

Courses specific to information technology may include computer service and support, principles of information security, introduction to networking, multi-user operating systems, and web systems.

Associates in Software Development Online

Software Developers working together

With an associates degree in software development, you may have the opportunity to build and test software or design and create applications while using various programming languages on a regular basis.

With your completed associates degree, you may qalify for entry-level positions as a web developer, computer programmer, or computer support specialist. With further education, you may pursue a career as a software developer or database administrator.

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A number of general education courses will be required to complete your degree in addition to courses specific to software development. Software development courses may include application programming, computer concepts, C family programming, computer hardware, network technologies, and financial accounting.

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Computer programming is a skill that is needed across all industries, and you may have the opportunity to obtain a rewarding career in areas such as software publishing, finance, insurance, manufacturing, government, or nonprofit.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a programming degree you may be qualified for a variety of entry-level positions.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer Network Architects $116,780
Software Developers $110,140
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators $98,860
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730
Computer Programmers $89,190
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810
Web Developers and Digital Designers $77,200
Computer Network Support Specialists $65,450
Computer User Support Specialists $52,690

Depending on the employer, you may need additional education or work experience to qualify for some of these jobs, while some will hire skilled workers who only have an associates, depending on the position.

Several positions in the field are predicted to experience growth in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These positions include computer network architect (5% growth), computer systems analyst (7%), computer support specialist (8%), database administrator (10%), software developer (22%), and information security analyst (31%).

Associates in Computer Programming Curriculum

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An associates degree in computer programming curriculum may cover a range of programming-related topics, such as the following:

  • Introduction to Computers: This course is an overview of fundamental hardware and software principles, LANs, and Microsoft operating systems.
  • Introduction to Programming: You’ll take a look at essential programming methods, principles, and practices, including logic organization, program design, and product testing.
  • Internet Programming: This course is a hands-on overview of web development coding languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XHTML.
  • Database Principles: This course is an overview of relational database design, structured query language (SQL), and entity relationship diagrams (ERDs).
  • Introduction to Java: You’ll take a look at the Java programming language, including how to write code and troubleshoot issues in code.
  • Web Development: You’ll get advanced exposure to website development through the inclusion of dynamic data, images, graphics, and the use of fundamental scripting languages.
  • Advanced Object Oriented Programming: This course is a hands-on look at troubleshooting two- and three-tier applications, covering object oriented application development (OOAD), Unified Modeling Language (UML), database management systems (DBMS), and Java Database Connectivity (JDBC).
  • Advanced Technologies: This course is a review of new and emerging technologies and their capabilities.
  • eBusiness: You’ll take a look at various e-commerce content areas for internet or web sales.
  • Advanced Application Development: This course includes hands-on development of computer information systems. You’ll apply key concepts covered throughout the curriculum to perform analysis, design, and development of systems.

Other courses may include mathematical reasoning, C# programming, communications, and social science.

Earning Your Associate’s Degree in Programming

Computer Programming student studying online

Programming degrees are commonly offered as Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. The program typically includes a mix of general core curriculum courses and computer programming-specific courses.

The general core curriculum may cover topics such as American history, psychology, sociology, communications, or political science.

Computer programming coursework may focus on an introduction to computers and programming, fundamental programming and scripting languages, developing applications, web development principles, and emerging technology trends.

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Admission criteria for an associate’s degree in programming may vary from school to school, but common entry requirements include:

  • Completion of an online application
  • Proof of high school graduation or graduation from a GED program
  • Transcripts from any secondary and postsecondary schools
  • Completion of an essay
  • Proof of English proficiency

Some schools may require all the criteria listed here while others may not. Once you’ve completed your degree program, you may be qualified for a variety of entry-level positions in the field of computer programming.

Some of these positions include computer programmer, network and computer systems administrator, web developer and digital designer, and computer network support specialist.


Associate Degree in Computer Programming Accreditation

Regional accreditation is a status that verifies the academic quality of an educational program and confirms that it meets a specific set of standards.

Employers place higher regard on accredited programs. A school’s accreditation status can also impact your ability to obtain or qualify for financial aid from the state or national government.

When transferring credits to another school, the accreditation status of your previous program many also influence the number of courses that you’re able to transfer. This is particularly important when transferring from an associate degree program into a bachelor degree program.

You can find more information about accreditation via the US Department of Education‘s website.

How to Get a Programming Job with an Associate Degree in Computer Programming

Computer Programmer working on her laptop

There are a few steps you can take to help prepare yourself to get a job with your associates degree in computer programming.

For starters, having a portfolio of work samples is one way to portray your knowledge and know-how to a potential employer. Being able to show potential employers work that you have completed may help you demonstrate what you can do in a real way and prove your skill set.

The completed work you showcase in your portfolio could even be from a school assignment, a project at a previous job, or a hobby project that you completed in your free time.

Participating in an internship as part of your education can also be beneficial to your future job search. Completing an internship, if you have the opportunity to do so, can provide you with practical, real-world experience related to your field of study.

web developers working together

An internship on your resume can show future employers that you have some tangible experience. You may also want to gear your job search towards smaller, startup companies. It may help to apply to businesses that place more emphasis on demonstrative skills than work experience.

Large and established corporations may more often require bachelor-level education for entry-level positions.

What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Programming?

There are a variety of entry-level positions you may qualify for with an associate’s degree in programming.

These positions include computer programmer, network and computer systems administrator, web developer and digital designer, computer network support specialist, and computer user support specialist.

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These positions exist across a range of industries, from finance, insurance, and manufacturing to software publishing, government, or nonprofit. If you decide to continue on to earn your bachelors degree, your associates credits may get you halfway there.

With a bachelors degree, you may qualify for even more positions, including computer network architect, computer systems analyst, information security analyst, software developer, and database administrator.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Online?

Associate's Degree in Computer Programming student studying at home

Associate degrees in computer programming online generally require you to complete a total of 60 credits of study in order to graduate. These 60 credits are traditionally spread over 2 years of full-time study.

There are a few factors that can impact the length of time it takes for you to complete your degree. These factors including whether you attend on a full-time or part-time basis, if you stay enrolled continuously through each calendar year, and whether you transfer credits from previous postsecondary studies.

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?

Computer Programmers working together

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for careers in the field of computers and information technology is $91,250. This is significantly higher than the average annual salary for all occupations, which sits at $41,950 per year.

Careers in this field are also poised to experience a positive job outlook over the next several years, with projected job growth of 11% through the next decade. Completing a computer programming major could help prepare you for an associate’s degree career in this field.

You may be qualified to obtain entry-level positions, such as a computer programmer ($89,190 per year), a web developer ($77,200 per year), or a computer support specialist ($55,510 per year).

Is an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Worth It?

Computer Programmers working in the office

Yes, an associate’s degree in computer programming is worth it for many students. Jobs in the computer and information technology field are projected to grow at a rate of 11% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics), much faster than the average for all occupations.

Common computer programming careers in this field include database administrator, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, network and computer systems administrator, web developer and digital designer, computer network support specialist, and computer user support specialist.

These can be potentially high paying and rewarding jobs, with a good chance for promotions within the company, making an associates degree in computer programming worth it for many students.

Getting Your Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Online

Getting Your Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Online

Earning your associate’s degree in computer programming may help you break into the field of computer systems and information technology. This degree may allow you to secure rewarding and lucrative positions in a variety of industries.

An associates degree may qualify you for entry-level positions and can be a valuable stepping stone if you decide to pursue a bachelors degree down the road.

Computer and information technology occupations have higher than average annual salaries, and the demand for computer systems and programming will continue to grow over the coming years. If you’re interested in joining this lucrative field, you can start researching earning an online computer programming degree from accredited schools.

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Brenda Pyzik
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda’s focus is on employment, entrepreneurship, business, and training and development.